Archive item

Title: Hungary must repeal repressive new media law - Letter to Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Other/original title:
Publisher: Committee to Protect Journalists
Files: Hungary must repeal repressive new media law - Committee to Protect Journalists.pdf
Abstract: In this letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of January 10, 2011, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Executive Director Joel Simon called on him to "work toward the immediate repeal of Hungary's new, severely restrictive media law". In the letter, Simon raises a range of elements of the newly adopted Media Act which the CPJ considers alarming, including the "broad authority" of the new media regulatory authority NMHH "to regulate all domestic and international media--including print, broadcast, and the Internet--as well as their publishers and service providers" and its "vast powers to interpret and implement the many vaguely worded provisions of the Media Act"; and the NMHH's staffing by "parliamentary appointees serving renewable nine-year terms". The letter also criticizes the law's stipulations which demand all media to provide "balanced" coverage and impose penalties for content deemed "insulting" to vaguely described "communities" or considered incompatible with broad ideals such as "human dignity" and "public morality" that are "subject to considerable interpretation"; the law's definition of the right of reply; the scope of fines and sanctions provided by the law, and their application to publishers, editors, and service providers as well as outlets; and the law's data disclosure requirements which "compel journalists and media outlets to divulge their sources on demand". The letter concludes that "granting such broad authority over the flow of information and placing it in the hands of an agency comprised entirely of political appointees threatens media freedom and sets a dangerous precedent," and urges Orban to bring the legislation in line with Hungary's commitments as a member of the EU, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE.
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-01-10
Language: English
Rights: Copyright Committee to Protect Journalists. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.